|Birth: ||Jan. 21, 1885|
County Cork, Ireland
|Death: ||Apr. 10, 1959|
[Cherie J. created this memorial with the permission and endorsement of Pierce's nephew and Godson, family historian Bill Gawne. In addition, Bill's mother, Maureen Elizabeth O'Ryan Gawne, gave Cherie J. permission to quote passages from her emails to Cherie J.]
Pierce Joseph Powers was born January 21, 1885 at Brandy Hall, Castletownbere, County Cork, Ireland.
NOTE: Some records show January 22 as his birth date. However, family members clearly and definitely recall that Pierce celebrated his birthday on January 21st (NOT the 22nd), and so January 21 is the date that I am using (as did Pierce and his family).
He was Baptized 22 Jan 1885 Castletownbere, Cork, Ireland:
Diocese of KERRY , Parish of CASTLETOWNBERE R.C.
Baptism of PATRICK JOSEPH POWER of DERRIMIHIN W on 28 January 1885
Name PATRICK JOSEPH POWER (This is a mis-transcription of Pierce Joseph Power)
Date of Birth 22 January 1885
Address DERRIMIHIN W
Father EDWARD POWER
Mother ELLEN GRIFFIN
Further details in the record
Child Denomination RC
Father Occupation NR
Sponsor 1 JEREMIAH DOWNEY
Sponsor 1 Address NR
Sponsor 2 MARY GRIFFIN
Sponsor 2 Address NR
About the record
Book Number Page Entry Number
2 N/R 2
Pierce Joseph Power's father was Edward Patrick Powers (1852-1897). He went by the name Edward. He was given the name Patrick because he was born three days before Saint Patrick's Day, according to Anthony Power, his great-grandson. Edward was born March 14, 1852 at Brandy Hall, Beara, County Cork, Ireland. Edward's parents were Pierce Power, May 1823, Ireland, son of Edward Power, and Dorothy (Dora, Dolly) O'Sullivan. Pierce married Julia Murphy and had the following children:
Dora Power b: Dec 1849
Edward (Patrick) Power b: 14 Mar 1852 in Brandy Hall, Beara, County Cork, Ireland
Mary Ann Power b: May 1854 in Brandy Hall, Beara, County Cork, Ireland
Helen Power b: ABT 1855
Patrick William Power b: Mar 1866 in Brandy Hall, Beara, County Cork, Ireland
Julia Power b: Aug 1868
Margurite Power b: 11 Feb 1871
Teresa Power b: Apr 1873.
Pierce Joseph Power's father Edward Patrick Power married:
(1) Ellen Griffin, b: in Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland, and
(2) Mary Holland b: ABT 1868 in Kilmacowen, Eyeries Parish, County Cork, Ireland.
Children of Edward Patrick Power:
PIERCE JOSEPH POWERS b: 22 Jan 1885 in Brandy Hall,
Castletownbere Parish, County Cork, Ireland c: 22 Jan 1885 in Castletownbere, Cork, Ireland (He was the only son of Edward Patrick Powers and Ellen Griffin.)
William Powers b: Apr 1889
Julia Power b: Jul 1890
Edward Powers b: Jul 1891
Mary Ann Powers b: 2 Jun 1894 in Brandy Hall, Castletownbere Parish, County Cork, Ireland
Margaret Powers b: Jun 1895 in Castletownbere, County Cork, Ireland
Gilbert Powers b: 10 Feb 1897 in Brandy Hall, Castletownbere Parish, County Cork, Ireland
(The family name was Power in Ireland. Pierce changed it to Powers when he came to the USA. In times past it was de la Puer, originally a French name.)
From Maureen Elizabeth O'Ryan Gawne, mother of family historian Bill Gawne; she told Bill:
Pierce's mother [Ellen Griffin] died shortly after he was born. He was taken to Pat Harrington's mother, who raised him until he was a couple of years old. He called Mrs. Harrington "aunt". He later called his step-mother "aunt " as well.
Maureen also told Bill: Pierce was the only son of Ellen, whose father came to Pierce, as he told it when he, Pierce was twelve years old, and asked him if he would care to live with his mother's family, whereupon as he told this, he replied, he would stay at his father's house, as his father had just died, and help his aunt raise his brothers and sisters. and give up the chance to go to the college proposed for him, as the old grandfather Griffin, had big bucks according to all. He was in his way quite a genius as he had already completed high school in his studies by that time. His teacher was called Master O'Dwyer (the Fury). How about that for a name which would give any little child the fits. Everyone loved Uncle Pierce for his unfailing good sense and generosity. and when you were born he and the great Aunt Agnes asked to be your Godparents. what an honor.
From Maureen Elizabeth O'Ryan Gawne to Cherie J. in an email to her on July 8, 2007: As for the Pierce and Agnes folks, they were and always will be the greatest in my life, except my parents, who got along with them just great too. Strange as it may be, their influence was great for many others not in the family. But those folks who had ancestors from Castletown Bere, knew of Pierce from a noble family and of course, Agnes [Agnes Mary Lowney who married Pierce], who grew up there.
In 1904 Pierce Joseph Powers immigrated to the USA. On May 1, 1904, he arrived at Ellis Island:
From Ellis Island passenger records:
First Name: Pierce
Last Name: Power
Last Place of Residence: Castletown Berl
Date of Arrival: May 01, 1904
Age at Arrival: 20y Gender: M Marital Status: S
Ship of Travel: Lucania
Port of Departure: Queenstown
Manifest Line Number: 0004
Final destination: Butte Montana, joining uncle Cash Holland 219 Anaconda Rd Butte MT
On August 11, 1909, Pierce Joseph Powers married Agnes Mary Lowney (1886 – 1969) at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Butte, Silver Bow, Montana, USA. Fr. Englund officiated.
As Maureen Elizabeth O'Ryan Gawne said to her son Bill Gawne and to Cherie J.:
Pierce and auntie [Agnes Mary Lowney Powers] grew up together...He called her tallow face, and she called him nobbledy head as he had a hat his step mother made for him to wear.
In an email dated April 14, 2007, Maureen wrote this to Cherie J.:
Agnes birthdate was Aug. 3, 1886, and she was baptized within a week, which was usual then.
I used to know her godparents but not now.
She grew up within a mile of the Powers house which was the first house outside of CastletownBere, and when she would walk by Pierce would yell out, tallow face, to her. her complexion being very fair and blonde. And she would retort, go away, knobbldy head. Because he had a hat crocheted with knobs on it, by his stepmother.
From Maureen to Cherie J. in an email dated November 9, 2006: Uncle Pierce...was like an uncle to all the family, and was a very wise man included in all of the family secrets etc.
He is the person who drove me to see the old Fr. Solanus, on that wonderful evening of my life. He also used to pick up the old father to take him to see my poor uncle John Lowney, my mother's brother when he was in the nursing home in Detroit to bring some blessings of the church to him.
In 1910 Pierce, Agnes, and Agnes' sister Abbie Lowney, were living at the following address, per the 1910 US Federal Census:
539 Franklin St., Butte Ward 2, Silver Bow, Montana, USA
Pierce Joseph Powers was Naturalized before 1912, probably in Butte, Montana. This is verified by wife Agnes passport application 15 July 1924. Her 26 July 1912 verified by her Certificate of Naturalization per her husband Pierce' Certificate of Naturalization
By 1924 Pierce and Agnes are residing at 355 Pilgrim Ave., Highland Park, Wayne, Michigan, USA.
In 1952 Pierce returned to visit his stepmom and family in Ireland.
The Ellis Island database shows Pierce returning to America after visiting his step-mother in 1952:
Name: Pierce Powers
Arrival Date: 3 Nov 1952
Estimated birth year: abt 1885
Port of Departure: Cobh, Ireland
Ship Name: Britannic
Search Ship Database: Search the Britannic in the 'Passenger Ships and Images' database
Port of Arrival: New York, New York
Microfilm Serial: T715
Microfilm Roll: T715_8234
Birth Location: Ireland
Page Number: 376
His address is listed as 33 Taylor Ave., Highland Park, Mich. (It would actually be 33 Tyler.)
From Maureen Elizabeth O'Ryan Gawne to Cherie J. in an email dated July 7, 2007:
I just had time to review some of the info on Agnes and Pierce
Powers. when she came to America, first, it was in 1904. and then
as you can see again in 1912, with my mom. and then in 1924 with
sister Joanna, and her birthday was Aug. 11, 1886. Pierce's birthday was Jan. 1885, as the indicated. and when he returned the one time to see the family in Ireland, stepmom, etc. it was such an occasion. We had a party first at which time he received gifts from all the old and new Irish in Detroit. then on the return, I went with Agnes to meet and greet him in NY. we stayed at Margaret and Pat Brady. She was one of the cousins from my aunt Maryanne Sullivan Fox. It was a great time indeed. and I flew back to return to teaching on the fourth of November. We had gone there on the train. And I remember all of it to this day. I took pictures of all the sights in NY, and on top of it all found I should not have, as some of them were on a list of NOT to take. ha ha. My old uncle way away for almost fifty years then as you can see. and he had tales to tell. One was about a haunted house. that I will repeat some fine day. You would have loved him, and my aunt too. they knew so much about Ireland and America and contributed to the cause of freedom there and here, and to education as well. God rest their souls.
Much of what I learned was from them, as they were like godparents to the whole Irish community at that time.
Maureen wrote the following to Cherie J. in an email dated November 13, 2006:
What a lovely thought you had to get a book on the Father [Fr. Solanus] of my childhood. the old man with a crooked finger he got when working as a miner in the old days to help his parents
as most of us did in time. [.....]
Well, as for the story about Bill and Jim when they were little tikes. One lovely day in spring of 1958, the diocese of Detroit and especially the monastery where the old father is buried yet, decided to have a memorial mass in his honor at the backyard of the same place which is on the lower east side of Detroit off a street called Mt Elliot and across from a cemetery called the same. the buildings are old too. and have been there since the 1890 period of time. Well at that time I was expecting
my daughter, M., and her birthday is May 16, 1958, and already had A. in 1956. So I asked to go with my Uncle Pierce, who was very old by then, about 72 and not doing too well as to driving so the old auntie Agnes, his wife, and my Mother asked me to go
with him and kind of keep an eye on him and of course, take the boys as an outing. So we did go, and when we arrived the weather seemed to change for the worse, rain and heavy winds and we still stayed for the Mass. We did not have seats although the early birds did, so we knelt on the grass with many others and had the thought that old chumuku [a name for the devil] was having a ball at the service. The Mass proceeded and the weather
got worse, with much wind. finally at the consecration, the priest barley raised the HOST and the wind got so bad that it blew the HOST right off the altar and down into the crowd in our direction. My uncle as usual had his hat but it was on the ground.
The host blew toward us and first landed in front of the man next to the uncle. Then it rolled over in front of my uncle and Bill as well. The old uncle put his hat on the sacred Being and the priest by this time, running off the altar, got to us and picked up the Host. At that time the sun came out, the wind stopped, so the rain as well and the crowd made hushing, gasping noises. Myself too. And it was as though the Love said, to the enemy on earth, O all right you had your fun. Now it is ours and I thought so too. It never was in the news of course, but it remained in my heart
to this day. [.....] Thus is the story of Bill and the uncle who was also his godfather. He never had children of his own, but every god child he had was very successful in life. Anyhow i hope you liked the story of Fr. Solanus, when I realized
God wanted him to be recognized.
Maureen added the following in an email to Cherie J. on November 13, 2006:
In conjunction with the story of Fr. Solanus and Bill and Uncle Pierce, I knew that day that God keeps His eyes on us, and it was a warning to take care of that poor old uncle who would be called to the Lord within that year to come. April 10, 1959 at the opening game of the Detroit Tigers in the old stadium. [....] The old Uncle loved the Lord and Mary and Joseph, in the way of all the old Irish folks, unequivocally--just as my daddy did--and said their rosary every day of their lives. That has gone by the wayside too in most homes. Sad but true.
In telephone conversations with Cherie J., Maureen would tell about the circumstances of Pierce's death, as follows:
On April 10, 1959 Pierce went to the opening game of the Detroit Tigers in the old stadium. While there he bought a bag of peanuts for "his Billy" [Bill Gawne, whom Pierce called Billy]. Pierce was sitting in the stands. People nearby saw Pierce suddenly slump over. Paramedics were called, but Pierce was already gone. Authorities called the house, and Maureen drove to verify Pierce's identity. She reached inside one of Pierce's pockets and found the peanuts there that Pierce had bought for "his Billy."
From Bill Gawne: This was my Uncle Pierce. He was my godfather, and one of the great influences on my young life. I remember him as a very strong man, of perhaps average height but having a huge muscular chest. My mother told me once it was 54 inches around, and that he had to have his shirts specially made. He also had very muscular arms, perhaps from all of his years operating the open hearth blast furnace at the Ford plant. He was mostly bald by the time I knew him.
Pierce was unquestionably the first of the old Irish men who showed me that it was possible to be a strong man without being a jerk about it. He was a very loving and considerate husband to my Aunt Agnes, and always kind in his dealings with children and adults. Later I'd get more of this good influence from my Uncle Charlie Ware and John Foley, the husband of my cousin Agnes. But it was Pierce who came first.
He bought a 1954 Ford two-tone maroon and white sedan the year I was born. I remember that he had a little child seat which hung over the back of the front seat. I'd sit in that, next to him, with a silly little steering wheel in front of me. By the standards of 2004 it was no doubt an awful thing, as it afforded little in the way of safety to me. But it did keep me in one place, and safely occupied.
Pierce died in early April of 1959. He'd gone to the opening day baseball game of the Detroit Tigers at what was then Briggs Stadium (later Tiger Stadium, located for many years at the famous corner of Michigan Ave. and Trumbul). He had a stroke and apparently died quite suddenly there at the game. My last memory of him, and one I still can see vividly in my mind's eye, is of him standing in the front doorway of my grandmother Catherine Ryan's house, half in shadow, waving to me and saying, "Goodbye Sport."
His was the first funeral I attended. I understood, with a pragmatism t hat surprises me now, that he was dead and gone from this life. I do remember seeing him laid out at the McInniss-Desmond Funeral Home in Highland Park, and walking out into the hallway to look out the window. The loss was an ache for me, and I didn't want to be in the room where t hat body that was no longer my beloved uncle was laid out. I wasn't at all sure of the assurances people gave me that he'd gone to heaven, but I did know he was definitely gone. I'd had him for not quite five years.
More from Bill's mother Maureen to Bill: (20 Oct 2004)
Your uncle Pierce, godfather and all. was indeed quite a man. He was left at the age of six days without a mother, and for the next three years survived with an aunt, I believe his mother's sister who was Pat Harrington's mother. do you remember old Pat??the fixit man who painted Nana's house until your Dad took over. and Pat's wife Lorretta. Then his father, Edward Powers, who uncle was the parish priest also in Castletownbere, Sacred Heart Church, married a lady named Mary Holland who was a first cousin to my grandmother as you can see. and she lived on for a great time. He saw her in 1952, when he went home for the only time aft er leaving in 1904. He landed in NY also. As a child he was gifted by great wisdom it seems and used to teach the other boys, when he was still wearing skirts to school. He could do math at a great rate, like you daddy. He took calculus when he was 11 or 12, and was recommended to college but in spite of his grandfather, a person, Griffin by last name, he choose to work on the farm to help his "aunt" who had taken care of him. and that was when his father died. It showed how caring and responsible he was always. When he came to America, he always worked and usually a foreman as he could make people do things for him, which he also would so do. He worked in Leadville, Co in Virginia city NV, in Park ci ty, UT, where he did some gambling, In Cananea, Son, Mx. at the old cop per mine, for Colonel Green, the multi-millionaire who was the brother of the late Hettie Greene from NY city. He left because he had to return to the USA to keep his application for citizenship going. That was when the great earthquake in San Francisco happened and he had returned t o visit his cousins Jerr Lowney. He worked over in the flats at Boron, C A and rode on a twelve mule team. and he rode through Tucson, AZ, and told me about the story of how you could cook an egg on the sidewalk. and he rode through Gila Bend too. He worked a short time in 1909, in t he Seattle, WA area, and then heard that a young lady, named Agnes Lowney was going to get married to someone else. That was Florenz Driscoll , from Castletown too. So he highballed over to Butte, Mt. and he got her to marry him. That was August 11, 1909, and so on, whereupon he worked for the great Anaconda copper mining company. at various mines, the Mountain Con, the Tuollame, and so on. whose names are somewhere in my head. and in 1919 He and Agnes and then my daddy, and mother, left to go to work for the wonderful Henry Ford. and re-establish them selves in the great city of Detroit.
More from Maureen, Bill Gawne's mother to him, Oct 28th 2004:
I remember Uncle Pierce taking me by the hand, over on Belle Isle looking up into the sky over Windsor, ONt. at the moon, he called it La Luna ,and told me he learned that term when he was in Mexico, long ago. He also told me to call the sun el sol. He was so neat that you were bless ed by even five years of knowing him. He had a book which told me about Cananea, son., Mx. and then he told me about Col. Greene, and the federales and the bandiditos, and the poor fellow, Jose, who worked with h m. He said poor Joe, ate beans and rice, and only got one dollar/day i n Mex. silver. Uncle got ten/ day USA gold, in 1906. So the miners cal led him Gordo, since he took it upon himself, to ask for extra lunch, which he gave to Jose, the other part, that is, and the people in the kitchen thought he ate it instead. What a great guy. He told me he had seen such misery in his childhood and did not agree with the gov of Mex. so since he could not change it, he did what he could for the poor man w ho had a wife and five children. Who knows who this affected. One of t he tales about your godfather. Perhaps you would like to write them down . I thought of this today that you would like to write down these t ales of the godfathers of my children. Would you like this for greater knowledge of the past. I have ones about all of the godfathers/mothers. I picked these people because I wanted good people for my children. If you ever saw TBN on a Sat. nite, Billy Graham has an old fellow who sings. He is from Canada--George Beverly Shea. The Uncle looked like him a lot.
More from Bill's mother, Sep 19th 2006:
Did I ever tell you about Nana's godfather, who was known to me as Brother Thaddeus, of the Christian brothers I think, and was stationed in Montreal, Can. at the shrine of St. Joseph Uncle Pierce went to see him in the twenties, when he went to the shrine, and of course, the old fellow was from the Beara place. I think her godmother was her mom's sister, Catherine but am not sure. At that time Pierce also saw the holy monk who founded the shrine of st. Joseph. It was quite an experience.
Now have you ever written about Pierce being in Cananea, Sonora, Mx in 1906. where he worked for old Colonel Green? He did not live long enough to talk to you about that, but it was quite an experience. and why he left to go to San Francisco to be there for the great earthquake of that time. He had a cousin, of the O'Neill's from Beara, not my dad's people. That old colonel in Mexico, had a residence right here in Tucson on the east side. and uncle Pierce was paid ten dollars a day, American money then. He had to go as far as San Francisco as he had a broken finger, and no doctor to set it. The finger never did get seen, due to the above circumstances. But that time he spent taught him a few words in Mexican, such as el sol. and tortilla. and he saw old Pancho Villa. the Mexicans called him, Gordo, as he ate enough for two, they said, but he didn't, as he was feeding his fellow worker. Joe.
(8 Nov 2006)
Yes, they did live on Lewishone street long ago in Butte, until the great Henry ford and the IWW forced them to move to Detroit, actually to Highland Park at first. Uncle Pierce was such a great man for earning money that they after moved to the house on 146 Hazelwood. in Detroit. It had seven bedrooms which auntie rented or lived in. The various relatives lived with them and life went on.
(19 Feb 2007)
well, for now, I have been thinking of the old days when Uncle Pierce, the first, was alive, and used to talk to me on occasion about his old days. i thought you might like to hear of some of the things such as the time he landed with a broken thumb, in April, 1906, in San Francisco, Ca. and the thumb healed by itself, and he lived at his cousin's only half a night, to see the house fall into the hole made by the then earthquake, while his future wife, auntie Agnes Lowney, was living over in Boston, and trying to collect pennies for the unfortunate folks living or trying to live in San Francisco after the quake and the fire which destroyed the city which was then the queen of the west coast of the USA. He had not cashed his paycheck and did not for days, then due to all the uproar. I think the cousins were the O'Neills , who had settled there then. there were also some of them in Albuquerque. and the ones in San Francisco were already into teaching. As Riobard will verify Pierce's family, father, and mother, who was the
Griffin, Harrington family from Deenish Island, were very uppity, as they had an uncle, a bishop, in Australia at that time. aunt Annie Ryan had one of them in her family, who became a cardinal Knox. and he is in a book that E. [Maureen's cousin] has of her mom's people. Well, for now, I remember him, Pierce, telling me these things as he sat in his big chair in front of the picture window on Hazelwood Ave. in Detroit. He also had taken off that year earlier to come back to the States so he would be legal, for his papers to become a citizen, having spent a couple of years over in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. working for Colonel Green, who owned the mine, there. the old Colonel's family was from New York, and his sister, Hattie Green, was a millionaire there. later, a lady who lived n ear us, who was a niece of theirs, told me of the Greens and so forth. Actually her name, no relative, was Mrs. Cummings.and she owned about five houses for rentals near Nana's home in Highland Park. some thought from the old days. He and auntie grew up together, as you know now. He called her tallow face, and she called him nobbledy head as he had a hat his step mother made for him to wear. tales from the old days. love, MOM
Email dated 17 December 2010 from Pierce Power's niece, Maureen Ryan Gawne Ybarra to Cherie J.. It is posted here with her permission.
Dear Cherie, let me say [regarding a sweater Cherie recently bought], 'Well may you wear it.' an old expression of my late uncle Pierce Powers who lived until 1959, but still lives in memory. fond ones too. You would have enjoyed him for sure. with his tales of the old west around the early 1900s. when he first came here from Ireland and worked in Montana, Idaho, Wash., Colorado, Utah, and California, and a while in old Mexico, the town of Cananae, Sonora, where he stayed until the time of the quake in San Francisco and was there then too. April, 06.
I even heard it from him, what a man he was in my life and in Bill's too. He took little Bill for walks every day until he died, and had brought a bag of peanuts for Billy to eat from the ball game he was at. What a tale to tell. Anyhow speaking of tales they are still in my head until after Xmas, then to work on it.
love to all,,,,
More from Maureen to Cherie J.: Life gives such wonderful times to us, when we look for them. My aunt Agnes and uncle
Pierce missed their 50 years together by about four months, as he died in April the 10th and their anniversary was August the 11th of 1959. I had the privilege of knowing them however for many years and it is the uncle who put the ideas into Bill's head about the
sun, moon, and stars, when he was little. That old man had so much in his head that some day I will tell you about him. He helped his teacher teach the other students in his early years in school, in Ireland. when he was a little fellow, and his death was a great loss to us.
OBITUARIES FOR PIERCE JOSEPH POWERS (1885-1959)
Detroit Free Press, 12 April 1959 p. 1B
Pierce J., April 10, Husband of Agnes nee Lowney; brother of Bert of Los Angeles, Edward
of Ireland, Mrs. Mary O'Neill and Margaret Powers of Lowell, Arizona. Also survived by
nephew William Powers and cousins Patrick Harrington, Mrs. Hilary Doyle and Mrs. Peter
Archambeau. Funeral from McInnes-Desmond Funeral Home, 1611 Woodward, Tuesday 9:30,
Blessed Sacrament Cathedral at 10.
Detroit News, Sunday, April 12, 1959 p. 1C
Pierce J., April 10, husband of Agnes, (nee Lowney); brother of Bert, of Los Angeles; Edward, of Ireland; Mrs. Mary O'Neill and Margaret Powers, of Lowell Arizona; also survived by nephew Wm. Powers and cousins Patrick Harrington; Mrs. Hila ry Doyle and Mrs. Peter Archambeau. Funeral from McInnes-Desmond Funeral Home, 16111 Woodward, Tuesday, 9:30. Blessed Sacrament Cathedral at 10.
Buried in Section 6, lot 158, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield MI. Just to the northwest of the Tibaldi family standing marker.
PIERCE J. POWERS
JAN 22 1885 - APR 10, 1959
BORN IN IRELAND
Agnes Mary Lowney Powers (1886 - 1969)*
PIERCE J. POWERS
JAN 22 1885 - APR 10, 1959
BORN IN IRELAND
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
Plot: Buried in Section 6, lot 158, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
Created by: Cherie J.
Record added: May 02, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69264004
Éirinn go Brách|
Added: May. 5, 2011
For a wonderful man. With love, from your family.|
Added: May. 2, 2011